Bam the Ram comes to the rescue

Fred Jeter | 12/28/2023, 6 p.m.
Hear the bugles. The calvary has arrived.
Joe Bamisile

Hear the bugles. The calvary has arrived.

VCU had a humdrum (5-5) start this basketball season, but there was something missing. Joe “Bam”Bamisile, from nearby Chesterfield, offers promise of filling in any blanks.

And so does Sean Bairstow, from Australia.

After sitting out the first 10 games due to NCAA transfer rules, the 6-foot-4 guard Bamisile made an instant impact Dec. 16 against visiting Temple.

No rustiness was evident as “Bam the Ram” scored 11 points (with three 3-pointers) and had two rebounds in just 19 minutes of an 87-78 win over the Owls.

His efforts were wildly cheered by a near sellout crowd of 7,189 who view him as a martyr. No one would be too surprised if he winds up being VCU’s leading scorer and a top producer in many other areas.

Bamisile’s belated eligibility stemmed from a ruling by U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey in Charleston, W. Va.

At first he was set to miss the whole season.

Judge Bailey’s decision offered immediate eligibility to multiple transfers such as Bamisile, who had previously played at Virginia Tech, George Washington and Oklahoma.

A September 2023 Free Press report noted that Bamisile’s appeal for immediate eligibility at VCU was based on a desire to address his father’s health issues and mental health concerns of his own. John Bamisile, Joe’s dad, underwent open-heart surgery in recent years.

The Monacan High alumnus was just warming up against Temple. He added 13 points (three 3’s) in 20 minutes in a 75-51 rout of Maryland-Eastern Shore on Dec. 22 before 7,098 partisan fans.

Bamisile isn’t the only late addition to Coach Ryan Odom’s roster.

Bairstow’s absence had nothing to do with NCAA regulations. After recovering from a broken foot, the 6-foot-8 forward is back in action. Bairstow transferred to VCU from Utah State along with Max Shulga and Coach Odom.

In his black and gold debut, Bairstow scored 11 points in 22 minutes with three treys.

VCU will close its non-conference schedule 2 p.m. Dec. 30, at the Siegel Center against visiting Gardner-Webb, N.C.